Bali and Surabaya
March 3, 2023
We just spent several days in Indonesia on Bali and Java islands. On Bali Island, among other things we visited Denpasar, the capital city of the region. We stopped into Tohpati Village a section of the city; had a coffee break by a rice paddy, and visited the Royal Temple.
We should mention that there are coffee shops everywhere, presumably because like just about every other country we have visited, they have the “best coffee in the world”. Actually, come to think of it, the coffee is very good.
On Java we visited Surabaya, the capital city of East Java. We went to a small Village, and spent some time at a park that celebrates Indonesian independence. We also spent some time at the Malapahit Hotel, a colonial era luxury establishment designed by the architect R.A.J. Sidwell who designed Raffles in Singapore. And guess what? It looks just like Raffles.
It is one thing to read about the many islands, tribes, ethnicities and religions in Indonesia, and quite another thing to see this in action. The cities are crowded, colorful and full of sights, sounds and smells (many from local spices and foods).
In a way, it is exotic and interesting and can easily become sensory overload. Everywhere people smile when we engage, thank us for visiting and bow slightly as they say thank you.
Outside of the cities, there are lush tropical forests and pristine beaches. It is a land of many contrasts.
We have had a wide range of experiences during our days here, visiting old cultural villages and historical sites, stopping along the way for tea, coffee and delicious snacks, and generally learning about the history and culture of Indonesia. We have heard and seen several dances and music performances (from traditional chants to pop rock songs, all of which were very good), as well as calls to prayer. The country is almost all Muslim, with the island of Bali being the exception where some 90% of the population is Hindu.
All in all, an incredible experience. And now we are sailing for Brunei where we are scheduled to dock on March 5. A few photos from our time in Indonesia are posted below.
MAM & JFB